Happy Holidays! And Spending Your Life Wisely
A brief interlude during the holidays.
I’ve been writing this newsletter for a bit over 2.5 years now, and I’ve never taken a week off. I’m calling this a “week off” for the holidays because I felt it was about time. So I’m not writing about interviewing, or promotions. I’ll continue that next week.
But I did want to talk about one quick thing. Because I enjoy writing! I’m going to briefly write about finances, and careers. Because it’s the holidays, and it was something on my mind. And I figure I’m allowed to ramble occasionally.
If you have time over the holidays and feel like reading some articles, here’s a quick list of some of my more popular articles you can catch up on!
Why talk about money during the holidays?
Everyone seems so happy over the holidays. And it’s not just about presents and ham. It’s about spending time with family and friends. It’s about going for a mid-afternoon run, instead of going to the office. It’s about slowly baking something in the kitchen while sipping a morning coffee.
Many of you are successful tech workers. I’ve had extremely well paid (more than I made) tech workers say they were jealous of me because I don’t work in an office anymore. And I don’t know how to respond because I think it’s their choice to keep working. I mean, obviously I’m super lucky, but a big part of my luck is that I was lucky that I made some specific choices.
Obviously, many people have challenges getting a job, keeping a job, finding a job which pays well, etc. But once you figure that out and the paychecks roll in, what choices are you making? Not many people realize that there’s a new choice to make. Every time they spend money they didn’t need to spend, they’re making a (conscious? unconscious?) choice to keep working longer. And that’s fine, as long as everyone recognizes that choice.
Money = Life
I’ve read quite a few personal finance books. Particularly, those which discuss financial independence (the idea of not being tied to your regular paycheck).
One concept which really clicked with me is the idea of mentally connecting your money, to your life. You see, many people view their paycheck as a river to be allocated, somewhat like irrigation.
XX% to my retirement.
XX% to this big future expense (college, car).
XX% to rent.
XX% to other expenses.
And I’ll spend the rest!
And I’m not a miser who thinks you shouldn’t have fun with your money. But I think changing your mental model for money is healthier for you.
Because money is a representation of your very short and limited life. You work for a company, and you agree to spend your very limited life to make them more money. You can always get more money, but you exchange hours of life for it.
So rather than picturing your income like a river (never ending, a flow), you should picture your money as actual hours of life. A very limited life.
When you decide if you should upgrade your airfare to first class, decide if it’s worth spending another few weeks in the office to pay for it. Those new fancy shoes you really don’t need? Another Friday of work instead of doing whatever you’d like to do.
And then instead of calculating what you can afford (based on your income), you’d figure out what you’re willing to spend your limited life on.
“Would I rather spend a week fishing with my kids, or upgrade our TV in this room?”
Spend your life wisely
A lot of this is just about being conscious about choices. Do you want to play on your phone on the couch, or teach your kid how to shuffle cards? Do you want to watch a 3rd episode of TV today, or go for a healthy walk? And do you want to buy a $60k car, or a $20k car, regardless of what you can afford?
In this newsletter, I like helping people interview well, because it can be life changing to get a great career at a great company. I’ve heard from many people who got their jobs because they read my interviewing articles.
I also like helping people advance in their careers because it’s magical to recognize progress in your life, do more complex & fun work, and make more money. I’ve repeatedly heard from people who were promoted due to tactics they learned in my career articles. I’d link to something, but most of my articles are career articles.
And while I don’t spend a ton of time talking about it, I also occasionally talk about personal finance. I’d love to hear someday from people who said they were able to retire at 50 instead of 65 because I convinced them to save for the future. That’d be a fun story to hear!
I hope you’re all having a lovely holiday with your family and friends. And that you maybe think a tiny bit about how you’d like to spend your remaining life with all of them. ❤️
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